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Why dogs don't always come when called

why your dog doesn’t always come when called Jul 31, 2022

A recall is the most important command in your dog’s life, it is really a matter of life and death in many different situations.  For instance your pup storming out the door, getting out of the collar, opening the gate and facing a car.  A strong recall will save his life.  Or your dog chasing an animal, getting lost or starting a confrontation with the wild animal.  Again, a recall will save her life.  

In addition, knowing your dog always comes when called give the freedom and a peace of mind.  Being able to take your dog hiking, swimming, playing in the park and all other fun is only possible when you know you have a reliable recall.  


It’s simple to teach because it is natural for dogs, so why is it is one of top 3 problems my clients are facing.  Let’s see it from a dog’s eyes…


The very first thing a puppy learns from humans is to come when called.  This usually happens way before you even bring you puppy home, once weaned off the mom, most breeders call the puppies when they bring them food.  Then the puppy comes home and absolutely adores its humans and of course wants to follow and alway come when called. You call his name say Come they runs or fumbles over, gets hugs and pets and even cookies.  This is great!  Then one day you are in a rush, you call them, they run, you put him in his crate and leave.  No hugs, no games no cookies.  He doesn’t love you any less, so when you come home he is all over you all excited and happy.  Then next time he’s outside smelling something important, you call him and he is taking his time.  You get mad and yell at him and he obediently walks over.  In the evening, he find a super cool old smelly something, grabs the treasure and lays down to enjoy it, you are calling, he is not coming, you are angry walking over, he grabs it and runs, now you are mad, and you are chasing him, he may be scared or may think this new game is turning out fun…


It is pretty obvious your dog knows what COME means.  And since dogs hearing is much better than humans, he definitely hears you screaming Come, Come Come. 




There are 3 reasons:

  1. A medical issue, this is usually when our old seniors all of a sudden don’t hear or react like they used to.  Of course it can also be caused by some physical trauma or disease, but you can easily check your dogs hearing by unwrapping his favorite treat, just look at the reaction!


  1. Lack of proper training with distractions.  When your pup is distracted by smells, or chasing squirrels, or fence fighting with the neighbors dog, he hears you fine, but chooses to ignore you because whatever the distraction is at the moment is well worth making you wait.  And it won’t matter if you are screaming COME louder!  This means he simply doesn’t respect your authority enough to drop the fun distractions and choose you.  Is this his fault? Not really, he is a dog and he doesn’t think so, he lives in the moment.  This simply means they need more quality dog training.  Notice the work quality because practicing the same thing that isn’t working 100 percent will never making it 100 percent perfect, but a clever and clear approach with making the right habit definitely will!


  1. Relationship issues. The dog either doesn’t want to be with you or wants to but afraid to come to you.  Either way this is a weak spot in your relationship.  And fear doesn’t bring respect, no matter how bad you want to hurt him when you are chasing him hoping to finally get him.  Never punish the dog for coming to you! Even if he didn’t come when called the first time, or the seventh.  Instead, you need to work on your relationship and build trust and knowing being next to you is a great place to be.  While doing that we will also solidify the habit of coming the first time and not just coming but running happily to you.   Never punish your dog for coming to you.  Always praise, and sometimes give treats or play. Practice in different places and under distractions.  Don’t give a dog a chance to make a mistake, long lines are a good tool if you are doing it yourself.  Professional dog trainers have additional skills and  tools to get the best results, and I can show you how to use them.


Don’t wait for your recall issues to shadow your relationship, start training the Come command the day you bring your buddy home then don’t stop to keep it fun, and get appropriate training before these problems develop.  Contact Olga today about availability for the next camp for your dog!

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